Marguerite “Peggy” Guggenheim amassed one of Italy’s most important modern art collections despite the chaos of WWII. The daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who died on the Titanic, Guggenheim inherited a trust fund of $450,000, which she used to travel to Europe in search of escape from conventional American life. To that end, she married the “King of Bohemia,” writer Lawrence Vail, in 1922, divorced him in 1930, and in 1941 married the artist Max Ernst, whom she divorced five years later. It was also during this time that she began collecting art, opening a London art gallery in 1938 with the help of Marcel Duchamp. Rising tensions in Europe forced her to close the Guggenheim Jeune gallery soon after its opening, but she continued buying modern art in France until three days before the Germans entered Paris. She fled to America and opened a new gallery, Art of the Century, in which she showcased the works of both famous artists and relative unknowns. In 1949 she returned to her beloved Europe, buying a palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal and turning it into an art museum, which she gave in 1974 to the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Peggy Guggenheim." (Viewed on February 28, 2015) <http://jwa.org/people/guggenheim-peggy>.